Page last updated at 09:33 GMT, Wednesday, 19 May 2010 10:33 UK

Peregrine falcon egg theft probed

Peregrine falcon
Peregrine falcon eggs can be targeted by collectors and falconers

Police have launched an investigation following a report of the theft of wild peregrine falcon eggs from a nest in Dumfries and Galloway.

The incident is believed to have happened in the Thornhill area some time during early May.

Police have appealed to people living and working in rural areas to report any suspicious activity.

In particular they are keen to hear of any sightings of vehicles which could be involved in wildlife crime.

Nests in the region are regularly inspected by bird protection groups to monitor for the presence of eggs.

It was during a routine check this month that it was found the Mid Nithsdale site had been emptied.

Illegal poisoning

"All the nests get watched throughout this part of the season," said a police spokesman.

"It looks as if the eggs have been stolen.

"If anybody has seen suspicious cars parked in lay-bys, they should contact us."

Peregrine falcons in the UK have been the target of egg collectors and falconers as well as falling victim to illegal poisoning.

However, the RSPB says better legal protection has allowed their numbers to recover from a low in the 1960s.

Current estimates put the number of breeding pairs in the UK at about 1,400.

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